Saturday, November 27, 2010

Creating Traditions

We've been here in the Chicago area for 4 years, but just heard of The Walnut Room at Macy's (Marshall Fields), and their holiday festivities.  It's sort of like the folks who live in the NYC area who go downtown to ice skate and see Santa, etc.  Here, people flock to Macy's to see the window displays, visit with Santa and have lunch at the famous, historic Walnut Room.  We decided to do it this year and I can say with certainty that we have started a tradition!  What a great time we had, especially the little ones.

On the train headed into the city
Checking out the windows at Macy's
A sprinkle of Fairy dust!

The Giant Tree

Snow man ice cream dessert  
The food at the Walnut Room was fantastic.  The decorations were beautiful beyond compare.  I'd love to go back there during the summer when it's not so crowded.
The whole experience truly was magical.  You can see it in the faces of our children.  What a wonderful family tradition we have started!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff!

I've been thinking a lot about how 'we' as Americans live in a world of excess.  We have too much of everything (well, most of us).  Two things in particular happened this week that made me think more on the subject.  First I read a book about a newly married couple that lived for an entire year without a penny to their names.  They lived off the land, eating eggs from their chickens, meat from slaughtering their only pig, and milk from the cow etc.  OK, that's a little extreme, and the book was set 100 years ago, but still it made me think.  Who can actually do that?  None of us is that resourceful today, nor would we want to be.
The other thing was the sale of my neighbors house. She's a widow and lives alone.  She had to hire a dumpster, and filled it to the top, with 'junk' that she wasn't moving to where ever it is she's going to live next.  I thought "How on earth can one woman accumulate that much stuff in just 7 years!?".
That made me think about my house and how much stuff I have.  I'm no angel in this department by any means.  However I do try to keep non-essentials to a minimum.  I also recycle way more than I throw in the garbage.  I would never be considered a pack rat.
With the holidays fast approaching, we're doing our annual 'weeding out of the toy box' routine.  The girls and I decide what is to be donated to the Good Will, and we make a big donation.  In all honesty, they don't have that many toys.  What they do have, they play with often.  This is a great segue to my next topic.  Ahem...what they do have a lot of.  Thanks mostly to my dear sister, the girls have an ENDLESS supply of PURSES!

There are the small ones...

and the medium ones...

and of course the large ones

We gathered up 27 purses on our first floor alone.  There are more upstairs in closets.  What do two little girls need with more than 30 purses?!  OK, in my sisters defense, she had all boys and always wanted a little girl.  I think that is apparent here.  Well, that and the fact that she is obsessed with purses!
Good God we live in a world of excess.  Now what do I do with all these purses?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time Flies...When You're Having Fun!

This year it snuck up on me.  D.R. had to remind me.  It was the 4 year anniversary of the day we moved into our new house in Illinois.  We have a tradition where we celebrate this day by having a 'fancy' dinner at home.  With such short notice, this years dinner was not as fancy as last year, when I believe we had salmon served on a bed of romaine, garnished with lemon and avocado!  However, traditions are important so I put a quick plan into motion and got the kitchen ready (last year it was the dining room), and threw together a nice meal.  Gia waked into the room and her eyes lit up.  She said "this party looks wonderful!".
Here she is sitting down, waiting for the rest of us slow pokes to get with the program.  She was ready for this party to begin!

It's on rare occasion that we have a table cloth in the kitchen, and even more rare that we let the girls drink out of real glasses!  I should mention that it was ME who broke one of the glasses.  The girls did just fine.
The meal turned out fantastic (not bad for just throwing it all together!), and the girls loved having candles on the table.  Here's a picture of both of them enjoying the dinner.  Please note we turned the TV off as soon as everyone was seated.  No TV during dinner at our house!

After dinner D.R. and I were entertained as the girls put on a show of dancing, singing, and tumbling.  Tia told us that parties are supposed to have dancing.  She knows these things.
All in all, it was a great evening, and it's been a great 4 years.  Of course we miss our 'home' in New York, and our family and dear friends.  But, I must say we've been happy here.  We have adjusted nicely.
It is truly a Happy Anniversary.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Time to Brag!

We had our very first Parent-Teacher conference for Tia tonight.  This is her second year of preschool (missed the kindergarten cut off), but she's in a new school this year.  We got her into this preschool because of some concerns we had about her speech, as well as SEVERE anxiety.  Several friends recommended this program and we were thrilled that she got in.  We continue to be impressed.

When I brought up the anxiety issue, her teacher looked at me puzzled and asked "Tia?".  Yup, that kid who comes bounding into the class every day with a huge smile on her face.  That's the one who was up for a week prior to the first day of school, unable to sleep, overcome with anxiety of an unfamiliar situation.  She's different now.  She's confident and strong.  She loves school, and taking the bus.  Whatever they're doing over there, it's working, and we love it!

The teacher informed us that the list of goals set for each student is what they are supposed to achieve by the end of the school year.  Tia has accomplished EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM NOW!  Yup, she's kindergarten ready and it's only November.  I'm one proud Mama!  I'm proud not only for the academic achievement, but for the fact that the teacher said Tia is a pleasure to have in class.  She is happy and friendly.  She plays well with others.  She follows directions and enjoys learning.  That makes me happy.

My very happy school girl!